By Journal Newspapers reports
Fulton got its first female mayor, Smithville kept the leader that brought it through a deadly tornado and Oxford re-elected its incumbent in races across Northeast Mississippi.
Tuesday night’s general election ended with George “Pat” Patterson winning a second term as the Oxford’s chief executive.
Patterson, a Democrat who served two terms as alderman before winning the full-time mayoral post in 2009, defeated independent Todd Wade by an unofficial tally of 2,122 to 1,220. Two incumbent aldermen, Ernest Oliver and Ney Williams, fell to challengers Robyn Tannehill and Jay Hughes, respectively.
Patterson emphasized that under his leadership Oxford has weathered a difficult economy without tax increases or personnel layoffs, while Wade called for diversifying economic and infrastructure development.
Wade said he’s making no decisions soon about another run for office.
“Four years from now could be an entirely different point in life,” he said. “I thought we did well getting the message out, pointing some issues out that I thought needed to be addressed.”
Wade hit hard early on in the campaign with implications that Patterson profited from inside real estate information – a charge Patterson countered by noting his longtime holdings and partnerships.
“It’s been an ugly campaign, but it’s over,” Patterson said. “I look forward to working with this board of aldermen and living up to my campaign promise – common-sense government with a focus on service. I’m going to put my head down, lean into the wind and work like heck.”
When Lynette Weatherford takes office in July, she will be the city’s first female mayor of Fulton.
Unofficial results show Weatherford winning the election by a landslide. She captured 574 votes, or 91 percent, of the 628 ballots cast. Her opponents, Alan Hisaw and Joshua Wood, earned 38 and 16 votes, respectively.
Weatherford will take office in July.
“I want to thank all my family and friends for their support over the last five months; it’s been overwhelming,” Weatherford said. “I will work with our board to make Fulton the best it can be.”
Weatherford defeated current mayor Paul Walker in the May primary elections, cutting short his fourth-term bid.
Booneville’s voters also chose a new leader for mayor.
Democrat Derrick Blythe won by a wide margin over Republican candidate Lindell “Lin” Floyd.
Blythe defeated incumbent Mayor Joe Eaton in the May 21 Democratic primary runoff, assuring a new mayor for the city.
“I’m very humbled and thankful for the support the citizens of Booneville gave me,” Blythe said. “I’ll do my best to make them proud of their decision and make our city all that it can be.”
Blythe drew more than 60 percent of the vote, with 1,039 votes to Floyd’s 679 votes in unofficial but complete results.
Floyd returns to his job working with Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann after taking a leave of absence for the campaign.
“I’m disappointed in the results, but proud of the support we did get,” Floyd said. “I’m proud of the campaign we ran and wish the new administration the best. I think we brought attention to some issues that will need to be addressed. This is my home and I want the best for this city, so I wish Derrick all the best.”
Iuka’s four-term incumbent Mayor Jackie Bryant was defeated by political newcomer John Castleberry, a retired banker.
In unofficial results, and with four affidavit ballots to be counted today, Bryant received 296 votes to Castleberry’s 323 votes.
“I’m thrilled with all the support people gave me and look forward to doing some good things for Iuka,” Castleberry said. “I look forward to working with the five re-elected aldermen and I know we can get some things done. I really credit my 37 years in banking in Iuka as much as anything. I really tried to help people over the years and I think that paid big dividends for me.”
Bryant congratulated Castleberry on his victory.
“It was a good clean race and I congratulate John,” Bryant said. “I’ve had 20 good years serving the city. He’ll do a good job and we got our five aldermen back. It’s a good administration and I congratulate all of them. I enjoyed my years working for the city and I’m still available if people need me.”
Incumbent Smithville Mayor Gregg Kennedy was elected to his fourth term as mayor Tuesday, defeating opponent Holley V. Hood Cooley with a 161 to 49 vote tally.
Kennedy’s next four years are crucial to moving the town’s reconstruction following the April 27, 2011, EF-5 tornado that leveled most of it.
“We’ve got the blueprints and the funding to where we want to go,” Kennedy said. “A lot of decisions have been made and now we have to put all of our hard work in place. With all the federal and state agencies knowing what this election meant, everybody across the state was watching.”
Kennedy will meet the town’s aldermen Thursday to determine when and where the city’s swearing-in ceremony will be.
Republican incumbent Chris Marsalis will serve a second term as mayor of Ripley, winning 648 of 1,145 votes.
Democratic candidate and former Ripley mayor Lewis Davis received 488 votes. Just under 32 percent of Ripley registered voters cast a ballot.
“I’m deeply honored that the people of Ripley have been satisfied with the job I’ve done over the past 14 months,” Marsalis said. “I look forward to continuing to work together with the people of Ripley to do great things over the next four years.”
Marsalis took office in March 2012 during a special election following the death of then-mayor Kerry W. Hill.
In a previous statement, Marsalis mentioned that if re-elected, he would for his first priority to be continuing work on the sanitation sewer and storm water systems, as well as installing automated meter readers in hopes of improving the city’s methods of gathering data. He said that he would also like to see more additions to the city park and continue efforts to clean up dilapidated buildings around town.